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Down the A4 from Rheims, then A26 for an hour and we are in Troyes. Nowadays known as a Factory outlet Designer Capital of France Troyes was, in medieval times, an important international trade centre, centred on the Troyes Fair. The name troy weight for gold, silver & gems supposedly derives from the standard of measurement created at the Troyes Fair. The end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th were periods of prosperity, but in 1524 a fire destroyed 1,000 houses in Troyes. Nevertheless many half-timbered houses remain.

Troyes is the home of andouillettes, one of the great French regional sausages. Maybe not to everyone’s taste: from Wikipedia “True andouillette is rarely seen outside France and has a strong, distinctive odour related to its intestinal origins and components. The Association Amicale des Amateurs d’Andouillette Authentique (aka 5A)
Les responsables de la 5 A revendiquent cette origine marquée d’humour et de bonne humeur, notamment sur son site officiel.”

It was at Troyes, in1420, that the Treaty of Troyes was signed; Henry V of England was betrothed to Catherine of Valois and the dream of a dynastic union between France and England seemed to be realized; Joan of Arc had a different idea and in 1429, it was back in the Dauphin’s hands.

We often stop at the convenient Formule1 motel south of Troyes; it’s just minutes from the motorway. In the week the motel caters for white van workers but on winter weekends it’s a favourite overnight stop for British skiers. Recently the French government has been using the top floor for rehousing the people displaced from places like the Calais camp and encouraging them to sign up for French language classes and trades & skills. They appear to have been directed to keep out of the way of general customers by staying on the top floor.

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